It's an entertaining crusade, a religious mission without prudery and a propaganda campaign born of a sense of humor that is being waged by the Wulomei. The troupe's name means "spiritual leaders," and its two dozen men and women are committed to reviving the folkways and values of the Ga-Adangbe people of Ghana.
Saturday night, in a clearing within a forest of microphones, instruments, amplifiers and lights on the stage of the Howard Theatre, these African visitors chided their former British rulers by satirizing their military drill, pictured their own people as playful even in the face of adversity, and set the audience cheering with a lullabye's refrain -- "Africa's is your home."
Dressed in pure yellow or white togas, trousers and sarongs, the Wulomei played drums, electric guitars and flutes, sang, danced and did skits. A nasal quality of the voice and the piping often covered more robust musical strumming and tapping with sinuous melodies. This sound is unique in African music, and has been popularized through recordings.
Dancing is frequently done in a bent stance, with torso and knees jutting forward. For passages of sex play, women thrust the rear end into prominence, gyrating rapidly while the men respond with the jerk. Footwork consists of light, fast stamping, hopping or shuffling.
Like much folk art, the Wulomei's is repetitious by our standards of individualistic esthetic and demands for diversity and development.